The sturgeon is a fish I saw on a documentary and I was very amazed by this ancient creature.
I was looking at internet and realized that there is very little information about it online.
The sturgeon is found in 26 different varieties and are today one of the world's most endangered species. The sturgeon has survived changes for millions of years and is very adaptable. The skin is thick, durable and is covered with protective snail-shaped bone plates. It is 250 million years old, which means that this fantastic prehistoric creature has survived both the dinosaurs and the ice age. It is bottom-dwelling and has 4 thick beard reins under its jaw which they use when they search for food on the bottom.
Of freshwater fish, sturgeon have the longest average life expectancy of 50-60 years. Beluga sturgeon can be more than 100 years old and grows the hole life, therefore the sturgeon can be extremely large. There is a theory that the Loch Ness beast may be an ancient sturgeon.
Reproduction is very slow as they are not sexually mature until after 14-15 years.
The sturgeon is picky about where it puts its spawn and can swim 160 km to find the right place and returns to the same area every year. Maybe even on the exact same place it was hatched.
From the beginning, there were so many sturgeons, and they was considered as rubbish. The ones they fished up were thrown ashore so they dried and then they were used as fuel. It was also the food of the poor before the europeans came with the knowledge of how to smoke the meat and use the spawn and they started to overfish the sturgeon. Initially, the spawn was served without charge in pubs that made guests thirsty and bought more to drink.
Then the demand became huge, the 9 sturgeon species that existed in America were soon fished out and the spawn became the rich man's food from royalty to the mafia and today it can cost from 35000 dollars per kg and up. People didn´t think about the problem with overfishing should spoil the possibility to get new generations.
People quickly realized that they could sell expensively to the western world and the fishing in the Caspian Sea which is 3600000km2 which makes it the world's largest lake where about 130 rivers flow out began to be overfished. During the last year of the Russian Empire, they wanted to modernize and began to build a lot of dams and factories (industrialization). The dams meant that the sturgeon could not get to its playgrounds and the factories released all kinds of pollutants into the lake and the biological diversity was and still is strongly affected. The sturgeon population has therefore decreased by 90%. Attempts have been made in different ways to control fishing and also ban fishing on sturgeon have been done. But that did not help, partly due to poaching as it is for many the only source of income.
In collaboration with the Blue Marin Foundation, which aims to protect and restore marine environments around the world, they have managed to make a sanctuary in Southern Azerbajdzjan where they try to protect and rebuild an aquatic environment and hope that the sturgeon will want to spawn again and save the species.
In Wisconsin at Lake Winnebagdo, they have succeeded in a sanctuary and today got the largest population of sturgeons in the whole world. 10 days a year, the sturgeon has its spawning season and people come from different places to have the opportunity to see the fantastic ancient animal in their real habitat.
It is sad and frightening when you consider that the sturgeons has survived both dinosaurs and the ice age, and in only 150 years the human have almost extinct the sturgeon.
Hope more can see the value in preserving this prehistoric fish and enjoy see this uglybeautiful creature also in the future :)
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